March 15, 2003

Friday Five

1. Do you like talking on the phone? Why or why not?

Nope. Don't like it at all.

My aversion to the telephone is second in intensity only to Stephanie's.

When I was younger I yacked like all teenagers but gradually the allure wore off. Now I view the phone as an evil intrusive device.

Not so much the invention itself but the way it was put to use in our homes.

No matter what we are doing - eating, sleeping, or something a bit more interesting, when that bell rings we are conditioned to DROP EVERYTHING and respond to the stimulus. And if the call is from someone that we don't particularly care to speak to at the moment (or ever!) we feel GUILTY about putting that person off, as if they had every right to intrude upon our private sanctuary.

Things might have gotten better with the introduction of the answering machine but I don't know too many people who screen their calls. This potential saviour itself was not received very kindly. People were INSULTED that their call was answered by a machine, not a person.

Perhaps the civilizing effect of the answering machine was counterbalanced by the invention of "call waiting". Now not only do you have to jump when the bell rings but even during your call you are required to be, well, on call for another. While call waiting is practical and solves the problem of tied up lines, it just perpetuates the expectation that we are all to be accessible, at all times.

Don't even get me started on cell phones!

2. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?

The drummer in Rob's band.
(Who called looking for Rob. I don't go THAT young.)

3. About how many telephones do you have at home?

Three conventional phones, in the bedroom, kitchen and basement. We have no other indoor phone jacks, not even in the other bedrooms! I have two cordless phones as well; nothing at all connected to my internet line and our household has exactly one cell phone per person with a few spare handsets lying around.


4. Have you encountered anyone who has really bad phone manners? What happened?

I'd have to say myself, when it comes to telemarketers. I've been warned by my sons, who both have worked in that area, not to be too cute because that only encourages them to call again for entertainment purposes.

The Housemate has had his moments too, when (more than once) the phone rang at dinnertime and he picked it up and said, "Thank you for interrupting our dinner. Please call back later,"  and banged down still not knowing who called.
This was before call display and answering machines.
One time it turned out to be one of my stepsisters; I still don't know who it was the other time.

Then there was the agent for a motel chain's 800 number. I was going through my usual routine of asking for discounts, because they don't offer them unless you ask, and then they magically find some plan for you that saves at least ten per cent and often more; this agent became exasperated and said, "Madam if you can't afford the trip I suggest you not travel."

That still gives me a giggle.

5. Would you rather pick up the phone and call someone or write them an e-mail or a letter? Why or why not?

Oh e-mail no question. I've always preferred writing to speaking and just can't relate to people who say they "can't write". It's just like talking only slower!

I absolutely detest picking up the phone especially for personal calls. I never know what's going on in the home I'm calling and feel like I'm the intruder even though I know many people don't see it that way.

I also feel less comfortable relating to someone over the phone than in person, without the visual and other sensory cues. I know that argument has been made about the internet but somehow having NO sensory cues at all is more comfortable for me.

Linque Du Jour:   The Payphone Project
That old payphone in the middle of the California desert was just the beginning...

BONUS: Linque Du Jour II:   Tampon Art
This one's for Stephanie.

Looking Back
Very approximately...

One year ago:
No March entries last year.

Two years ago:
Loose Ends II

Three years ago:
I'm Reality-Based, You're Not - during my father's hospitalization in 2000.

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